Leonard Bernstein’s daughter reveals composer’s bathroom jokes

By Dalya Alberge - The Sunday Times
June 17, 2018

To the audiences who flocked to his concerts, Leonard Bernstein was one of the most brilliant composers and conductors of the 20th century, with West Side Story among his masterpieces.

To his eldest daughter, Jamie, he was “the man in the scratchy brown bathrobe who smelt of cigarettes” and loved to crack crude jokes about bodily functions.

Often Jamie would have preferred an ordinary dad. But in a memoir coinciding with the centenary of Bernstein’s 1918 birth to Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants in Massachusetts, she recalls her father as “matinee-idol handsome, madly charismatic, a superstar”.

In Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein, published last week, Jamie describes her father’s lifelong dependence on sleeping pills, his habit of composing during sleepless night hours, and his…

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Jamie Bernstein